Monthly Archives: October 2009

Luke 23-24

Scripture

“Then as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!  Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”  And they remembered His words.”  Luke 24:6-8 

Observation

This must have been quite an experience for these women.  It was very early in the morning, may have even still been dark.  The grieving women went in to the tomb to say there last goodbyes and found nothing, no body.  Now distressed at the thought someone stole their masters body, they stumble out of the tomb confused and upset.  The next thing they see in the dim light are the mysterious men in shining garments proclaiming to the scared group that Jesus has risen.  That must have been quite a shock, but they than recall Jesus’s words and immediately they are filled with joy!  

Application

I can only stand in awe when I read these verses.  Imagining that scene and picturing myself standing there.  I can only imagine the day when I can see Him, how awesome that will be.  When I thought about these verses I wondered how come no one over the last few days thought that Jesus might not be in the tomb?  The Pharisees even remembered Jesus’ words and asked for guards to be posted at the tomb.  Than I think, this world can be confusing and emotions take over and I forget Gods promises.  These verses are a great place to rest when feeling confused and to remember what He has done.

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for salvation, thank you for paying the ultimate price.  Words are not enough to express my gratitude for saving me.  Move me to open my mouth and be bold and to share your gospel with a hurting world.

Amen

Jon

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Luke 21-22

Scripture

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box.  He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth.  But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on (21:1-4 NET)

Observation

We don’t know the name of this woman, but her simple act of faith was noticed by Jesus.  She didn’t move a mountain, she didn’t heal the sick – she just gave everything she had.  And seeing that, Jesus teaches us that it’s not how much you give, it’s how much you keep.

Jesus did not disparage the gifts of the rich; he simply pointed out that things were not necessarily as they seemed.  Those who were giving much were giving out of their excess, but the one who gave the least had the least to give.  The lesser gift was the greater, since it was the more costly to the giver.

Application

“Blessed are the poor in spirt,” Jesus said elsewhere, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Apparently, the poor have much to teach us, and not the least of those lessons is one on generosity.  I find I’m only generous when I’m holding onto things loosely; if things start to mean more to me than people or God’s work among us, then I start to hold tightly to the funds that allow me to amass those things.

It’s interesting that those that are not generous are the ones that are most likely to be proud when they do give.  Each of us that falls into that should look back at this poor widow and regain perspective.  “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Jesus said, “so that your gift may be in secret.”

“And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”

Prayer

Dear Jesus, give me a generous heart.  Help me to recognize that all I have is from you.  You have given me so much – a hope and a future, a life worth living.  Help me to be a conduit of your grace, and a conduit of your resources, giving as freely as I have received — for your glory and my good.

(wordisalive)

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Luke 19 & 20

Scripture: “For the son of man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10.

Observation: Zacchaeus was lost; there was no disputing this. In the presence of Jesus, Zacchaeus was made acutely aware of who he was– a sinner. Back in the day, Jewish tax collectors were viewed as traitors aligned with Rome. To understand in our day how they were viewed, think of someone like Bernie Madoff, ripping off others to line their own pockets. Despised.

The righteous people grumbled when Jesus went to eat at Zacchaeus’s house. How could he do it!? Why did he do it? He did it because He came to seek and to save the lost. Do you see the irony? The problem with most people is they don’t see themselves as lost and in need of a Savior. We tend to compare ourselves to really bad people, “at least we’re not like them!” Many of us will never see how messed up we are unless take our eyes off of others and fix them on Jesus, and see Him for who he really is.

Application: I grew up in a decent moral, agnostic home. Religion was always viewed as a crutch for the weak. I had a dim view of Christians well into my early adulthood. Interestingly, I understood and accepted the idea of one God, and His son Jesus. I just didn’t see myself in need of being “saved”. I didn’t see the need for religion. I was doing fine without it.

Then everything changed. In God’s perfect plan, He brought me to a place where I was ready to hear and to know the truth. No, I wasn’t ill, or about to lose my home, in my case He brought me to a physical address – I moved in next door to a pastor. He was a curiosity to me – He didn’t appear weak and in need of a crutch, he seemed like the real deal.

After nearly six months, I visited his church. Through the words of the Gospel, my mind and heart were penetrated to the core. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, to be angry or filled with joy. I felt naked and exposed in front of everyone. I saw Jesus, and in seeing him, I saw myself, and I was ashamed.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. That means all of us, yep, even the good upright moral people of this world (I would argue, compared to Jesus, there are none). Only when we see Jesus for who He really is will we begin to see ourselves for who we really are – lost people whom Jesus came to seek and to save.

Prayer: Lord thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you for giving me eyes to see and ears to hear. Lord, continue to draw my eyes and mind to the truth. I pray you would help me be the kind of person who is able to make You known to others so they also might see You for who You really are, and in turn, see that they are the “lost” whom you came to save.

paul

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Luke 17-18

SCRIPTURE

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

OBSERVATION

The blind called out, lepers cried out, a woman reached out, entire towns went out, and demons came out. The Pharisees plotted and the disciples queried. They all saw who Jesus was and what he could do for them. Jesus responded with authority, truth, wisdom, mercy, healing, forgiveness, and peace. With God all things are possible and  salvation comes through Jesus Christ.

APPLICATION

When I was eleven years old authorities at my elementary school betrayed my trust. My perception of religious orders was forever altered. Yet, my view of God remained true. Some people perceive my faith as naivety. I can’t help being in awe and wonder of God. Everything He created is so amazing. Like the song from Cinderella says “Impossible things are happening every day.”  Our situations may change, but God is the same yesterday, today and always and He is faithful and mighty to save. He is the ultimate super hero. Though He allowed part of me to be broken, he protected the seed of faith in my heart. I am thankful to God for many things, but the greatest gift He gave me is faith in Jesus Christ.

PRAYER

Lord, thank you for the gift of faith in your son, Jesus. May I never forget at what cost he ransomed my soul. Remind me to pray continuously with thanksgiving. Mold me into a tenacious faithful servant. Renew my mind. Forgive my sin. Help me overcome any unbelief. May I see the world through your eyes. When you return may you find many with child-like faith. I pray all these things in Jesus Name. Amen

yicareggie

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Luke 14-16

Scripture:

14:25-33, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Observation:

Jesus is gathering a strong following. I believe he knew that many were following him for the wrong reasons. They wanted their stomachs full, they wanted to be healed and they enjoyed his teaching from a purely intellectual point of view. However, many did not understand that part of the way of Christ is one of suffering and hardship. Now Jesus wasn’t stating here that if you didn’t count the cost first you couldn’t follow him. He was stating that a wise person would do that. Salvation is always by faith alone, but it’s wise to count the cost before committing to something. I was listening to a dialogue between Bill Hybels and Dallas Willard and the topic of the lions came up. When a person in the first century was presented the claims of Christ, did they also have to know about the lions? You know, those animals that ate Christians in the Colosseum in Rome! Or did you let them find out about it afterwards? Dallas stated that they already knew about the lions. Christians were counting the cost and dying for their faith. Others contemplating Christianity knew that was a part of the deal. Jesus was telling the crowds it was time to count the cost. Many left him over that little talk.

Application:

It’s too late for many of us. We are already in. We have trusted Christ alone for our salvation. So we didn’t count the cost before joining God’s family. However, I need to count the cost every morning when I awake. I need to remember there are responsibilities that come along with my position in Christ. It’s not always easy and I need to realize that and plan my days accordingly. John Maxwell was quoted over the weekend as saying the closer we walk with God, the more he requires of us and the more friends we tend to lose because of the path he has us on. That very well could be true. Some reading this have lost relationships with family or close friends because of your faith. Others have been passed over for promotions and the resulting better life-style that brings because of your faith. We are counting the cost. There are brothers and sisters that are suffering greatly around the world today for their faith. That makes me feel less than adequate knowing my cost for following Christ is minuscule compared to them.

Prayer:

Father God thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. I pray that every morning I would count the cost of following you and that I would not shy away from paying that price. Help me to be true to you and follow strong after your Son Jesus. I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world today who are suffering beyond comprehension. Please be their portion. I pray these things in Jesus Name Amen.

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Luke 12-13

Scripture:

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 27“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 12:22-31

Observation:

God chooses birds and flowers to point out that he will take care of us as he does all his creations. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Application:

It seems as though I come back to this scripture whenever I get worried about something, especially with finances. I always try to remember that God will give me and my family what we need, and probably more than we need. This scripture is a great reminder of just that. Amazing that we watch God take care of the birds and the flowers and yet we worry about what WE will have to eat or what clothes we will wear.

This world seems to tell us that we need to worry about these things. Just watch commercials for 5 minutes and the world tells us what we should look like, what we should wear, what we should eat, and what we should drive. It also tries to tell us what we are not if we don’t have those things. This scripture should remind all Christians that we shouldn’t worry about worldly things.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please let me be thankful for what you have given me and my family. We are blessed beyond belief and sometimes I fail to recognize this. I just got back from China, and was able to see first hand how blessed I am, how we all are. Lord, let us not forget how much you bless us everyday and let us not worry about what the world wants us to be. Amen.

Jtgavigan

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Luke 10-11

Scripture

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”  And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”   

Luke 10:17-20 (NKJV)

Observation

After Jesus sends out the seventy disciples as “sheep among wolves” to prepare for the ministry of Jesus, Luke records and describes their return in this passage.  The disciples come back beaming, excited, thrilled and enthusiastic about all they have accomplished and witnessed.  They returned to Jesus and they seem as if that cannot wait to report that they have had victory as a result of their witnessing and ministering in Jesus’ name and authority.  But Jesus helps them to see the big picture and get their priorities straight.  His response to them is astonishing!  He reminds the people that their most crucial victory, and the one thing that should be filling their hearts with abounding joy far exceeding the joy they are experiencing as a result of their labor, was that their names were written in heaven.  This was an honor that made everything else dwarf in comparison and it was a wonder that should fill their hearts with a sense of wonder far greater than any work they could accomplish in this world. 

Application

This passage reminded me so much of an event that I had been a part of, very recently in my life journey.  It is a true story and it involved a young lady that God placed in my path.  She was not a believer of Jesus Christ and life was simply just falling apart on her.  She was suffering from an awful depression caused by the loss of a family member and a breakup of her family, not to mention other things that were just making her life in shambles.  After a few conversations with her, I offered to pray for her right then and there.  After my prayer, she told me that nobody had ever done anything like that for her before.  This started a chain of questions about my faith in Jesus and what it was that brought me joy, peace and light in my life.  God gave this opportunity to me and He used me to introduce her to Him.  I ended up buying her a bible, something which she had never read before, and I gave her some simple reading material that explained the gospel message.  A few days later, she came to me and told me that she made a decision to ask Jesus Christ to forgive her sins and she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  

I remember when I first heard the news of her decision.  My heart was beating with so much joy!  Just like the seventy disciples, I was ecstatic that God would use me to reach out to this sister that was so desperate to know Him.  I am quite sure that I felt just like the seventy disciples that Luke describes in this passage.  God had used me to give the Word of God to another human being and this person had come to a saving faith in Christ.  How glorious and wonderful I felt!  Then today, I read Jesus’ words that He spoke to the disciples, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

God has spoken directly to my heart through these words today.  I hear Him saying to me, that although it is good to rejoice in the work that He has called me to do, the one thing I should rejoice in most is that He has allowed me, a sinner deserving of death, an unimaginable victory that far exceeds any accomplishment or victory in this world.  My name is written in heaven.  He has given to me a citizenship that is far greater than anything I could dream of or imagine.  I get to live with Him forever and live in His house.  Not because I deserve it or because I am worthy of it.  But only because of His grace and His unfailing love.  There is no greater joy that could be had than this and I must never lose sight of this awesome wonder that I get to spend eternity with Him in heaven! 

Prayer

 O, Great and merciful God, how awesome you are!  Thank you so much for the using the gospel writers to record the words of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior.  My heart bursts with overwhelming and indescribable joy over the thought of spending eternity with you!  But I confess Lord, that this world often seems so big to me and confess that I lose sight of the things that really matter most.  Lord, even when you give me success in service to you, it is all Your work and not mine!  I cannot take the credit for it at all!  I am simply your vessel and this existence was created by you simply to be used by you to bring glory to yourself.  But Lord, what a tremendous and abounding joy you have placed on my heart through the reminders you have given in your word! 

You suffered and died for me.  You rose on the third day and you are seated at the right hand of the Father and you have gone to prepare a place for me so that where you are, I will one day be!  How awesome and incredible that promise is!  I pray Lord that Your Spirit always reminds me of this amazing promise of my citizenship in heaven that is reserved for me.  Until I am there, I will lovingly serve you and adore you.  Take this vessel and use me!  I will forever ascribe praise and adoration, always looking forward with all joy, to the day when  I kneel before you face to face.  How I love you, Jesus! 

In your precious Name above all Names, I pray

John  (johnd7264)

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